MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (Army News Service, June 27, 2007) - Even after having been thrown several meters, knocked unconscious, set aflame and buried under rubble all as a result of a suicide-vehicle-borne IED, a Fort Riley medic braved small-arms fire to save the lives of fellow Soldiers and Iraqi policemen last year.
Cpl. Clinton Warrick received the Army's third highest award for valor during a June 18 ceremony at Riverside Park for his actions during a Sept. 18, 2006, insurgent attack, when he was serving as a medic with the 2nd Platoon, 300th Military Police Company, at the Al Huryia Iraqi Police Station.
Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, present Cpl. Warrick the Silver Star and other awards before his family and friends, and his former 300th MP Co. platoon leader, company commander and first sergeant.
"This is one of Fort Riley's great Soldiers - one of our real, no-kidding heroes," Maj. Gen. Ham said at the ceremony. "It is right and proper that we come here to present you this award for valor. It is heroes like this who make our Army the best in the world and our nation so strong."
Shortly before the explosion Cpl. Warrick heard small-arms fire. His platoon leader, 1st Lt. Kevin Jones, was on the roof and saw the SVBIED approaching. Just before what Cpl. Warrick remembers as a "fireball" rolled down the hallway in his direction, 1st Lt. Jones began running downstairs to get everyone as far back from the explosion as possible.
"I made it about halfway down the hallway when the explosion took place," said 1st Lt. Jones, who suffered burns and received shrapnel wounds on his lower back and legs. He was temporarily knocked unconscious.
"When I regained consciousness, I had an idea of what happened, but I was thrown down a side hallway, and it was full of smoke and debris," 1st Lt. Jones said.
Just feet away, Cpl. Warrick lay unconscious. His legs were on fire, and the roof and an exterior wall had collapsed on him.
When 1st Lt. Jones found Cpl. Warrick, he put out the fire, dragged him 20 meters to a vacant room and helped him fully regain consciousness. After talking himself through continuing his mission and helping as many people as he could, Cpl. Warrick made his way outside amidst small-arms fire to triage patients at the casualty-collection point 1st Lt. Jones and his Soldiers established moments earlier.
"I had a job to do and I still needed to do it," Cpl. Warrick said. "I was there for rendering medical aid.
Though he was injured severely, Cpl. Warrick refused to sit down, as he knew he would have immediately slipped into shock. He triaged several wounded Iraqi policemen, assessed others and conveyed the situation to the medical station on Forward Operating Base Ramadi to prepare them for the incoming patients.
"Cpl. Warrick continued to use his medical knowledge to have the U.S. Soldiers treat our wounded as well as Iraqi Police. Even though he couldn't physically do it, he was helping us do it," 1st Lt. Jones said.
After a sufficient number of QRF personnel had arrived, Cpl. Warrick and other injured Soldiers were medevac'ed - with Cpl. Warrick's status as urgent.
Today Warrick is in a medical hold company at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he has been undergoing surgeries and rehabilitation since his arrival last year. He is scheduled to be medically separated from the Army, and plans to return to his hometown to earn a teaching degree.
He still insists he was only doing the right thing at the right time.
"It's kind of hard to fathom because I just did my job," Cpl. Warrick said. "I didn't do anything special, is what I feel. I did what I needed to do."
(Sgt. Stephen Baack writes for the 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office.)